Monday, May 30, 2011

HeroesCon 2011: Where to Eat

The all important decision of where to eat during a comic convention can be difficult if you're not from the area.  Luckily, we have home field advantage on this one to share some personal recommendations about eating in Charlotte. 

Walking Distance:
King's Kitchen: Southern food for a good cause.  All the proceeds from this restaurant go back into the community to help those in need and the Brown Sugar Poundcake is fabulous! I can't speak to the fried chicken, but diners do seem to enjoy it. 
Amelie's (Uptown): Three words: Salted Caramel Brownie.  Amelie's has soups, sandwiches and other meals, but let's be honest, we're going there for the desserts! V
Taste: Run by Johnson and Wales students, this place has a wide ranging menu from soups and sandwiches to various hot bars and cupcakes that are out of this world.  V
BluPrint: One of uptown's newest additions, this place gets a weekly visit from me.  The food is super yummy and the owners and staff are super friendly.  They serve breakfast until 3pm so if you're craving pancakes at lunch this is the place for you! V
Fujo Bistro: Good sushi, Good entrees and reasonable prices.  I have had dinner here at least once each weekend since I starting going to HeroesCon.  Works for the vegan, vegetarian and meal eaters alike. V

Frozen Isle: Charlotte's very own entry into the frozen yogurt craze.  There's a rotating cast of flavors and toppings and in June, anything cold is a winner. 
Fuel Pizza: Location of the Drink and Draw on Friday night.  This local pizza place right across from the Convention Center is veggie friendly and has recently added a Gluten-Free Crust. V

Dean & Deluca: I know, sounds completely fancy, right? However, this place has some of the best salads downtown and even though many of the other items do tend into the pricey range, their salads run from $6.99-$8.99 and kick ass.  The Tryon location isn't far from the convention center. V

Gluten-Free Recommendations:
Jason's Deli at the Epi-Center: Yes, it's a chain, but a very good one with a wide ranging menu and a large salad bar. 

In the Heroes Neighborhood:
The Diamond: A vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurant that also features an appetizer known as "Pig Wings" will please the entire crowd. V

Worth the Drive:

Sunday Options:
Admittedly, uptown Charlotte can leave a bit to be desired when it comes to restaurants open on Sunday for breakfast/brunch in a price friendly range.  Many of the hotels, the Westin included, have a breakfast buffet, but those can tend to be on the expensive side of things. 

This, of course, isn't an exclusive list of places to eat uptown.  If you venture towards the intersection of Trade and Tryon, you will find the Epi-Center and the Bank of America building, diagonally across from each other full of lots of chain restaurants like Qdoba, Just Fresh, Smoothie King, Chick-fil-a, and Showmars. 

There's also the Delish Food Court in the Convention Center for those who prefer not to leave for food runs, that has Bojangles, Einstein Bagels and Buoncibo. 

For those needing a caffeine fix, there's a Starbucks in the convention center as well as a number scattered around uptown along with several Caribou Coffees. 

Heather's Note: It's been a long hard week for both Seth and me.  Those of you who don't know us personally won't be aware that my mother passed away last week.  I didn't get a chance to really finish this post, but still wanted to share all the links I had compiled before everything happened.  We'll both still be at HeroesCon.  I'm so thankful for my Heroes family and friends, especially at a time like this. 

Green "V" indicates Vegeterian Friendly

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Eraklis "Herc" Petmezas

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Eraklis "Herc" Petmezas' wordless comics are worth at least a million each.  Wordless comics are a more complicated art form than face value might lead a reader to believe as you must rely solely on your art to get your story across rather than using dialogue to move your comic along. 

I first met Herc while volunteering at HeroesCon, but really got to know him attending the weekly Sketch Charlotte meetings.  Herc founded Sketch Charlotte as a group intended to welcome artists, writers, musicians, and creative types in general and it has become an environment fostering friendship, collaboration, and creativity.  It's a place that members call home, a comfortable place to gain insight and reflection.  I've been going to Sketch meetings since Fall 2010 and in that time I've made lifelong friendships, found love, and an outlet for my creativity among plates of fried food and endless glasses of sweet tea. 

I collaborated on my first mini-comic, Bear-ied Treasure, with Herc that will be included in the 2011 Dollar Bin Assembled Anthology (available at HeroesCon!).  I wasn't sure how to script a comic at all, but even more so with a wordless comic. Somehow my email script turned into a three page mini-comic exactly how I had envisioned it. 

Herc's published works include Mr. Lune, Everyday, The Last Cigarette, contributions to Dollar Bin Assembled Anthologies, Sketch Charlotte's Anthology, and a back-up piece in the upcoming Asylum Press Trenchcoats, Cigarettes & Shotguns book.  His comics show range from his wordless comics of Mr. Lune and Everyday to his crime noir of The Last Cigarette set in Greece.  Herc does fun stories and gritty stories equally well.  It's hard to pick a favorite out of his comics as I've enjoyed them all, but his recent collaboration with fellow Sketch Charlotte member, Henry Eudy, in the Sketch Charlotte Anthology captured and blended their styles so well I can't help giving it an extra nod.  The two of them combine storytelling and art in such a way that both their personalities shine through equally in a quirky and well done origin story.  The Sketch Charlotte Anthology will also be available at HeroesCon, so you still have a chance to pick one up!

I'm beyond honored to be able to call Herc a collaborator, an inspiration and above all, a friend.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fanaticon Report!

Dear Asheville Art Museum,
I realize that May normally brings cool weather to Asheville, but when it is over 80 degrees outside and you have lots of vendors, exhibitors, volunteers and guests in your building, please do us all the favor of turning the a/c on to accommodate the rising temperatures.  I'm sure the caped crusaders and Storm Troopers would appreciate this even more than us plain clothed civilians.


Sorry to start off with a somewhat negative note, but the level of heat in the museum was the number one topic of conversation during Fanaticon.  I understand that the organizers had no control over the temperature of the facility they were using so I don't hold that against them.  In spite of the heat, there was a lot of fun to be had at Fanaticon. 

There was a nice variety of vendors with collections ranging from Silver Age Comics to discounted trades to toys.  I spent part of my day at the Heroes Aren't Hard to Find booth where not only were comics for sale, but there were plenty of the special Heroes Green Lantern Free Comic Book Day books to give away.  If you haven't heard yet, if you bring your copy of this book to HeroesCon in two weeks, there's a super awesome free gift which will be announced soon.  You don't even have to give up your free comic to get it.  Just bring it by the Info Booth during the con to get your free gift!

I was very happy to see all of my Sketch Charlotte friends grouped fairly close together in a nice side room that was substantially cooler than upstairs.  I really appreciated Tom Davidson letting me sit at his table for awhile to cool down when his lovely wife, Yvonne was visiting the Mast General Store conveniently located across the street.  I also got to visit with Henry Eudy and Eraklis "Herc" Petmezas just one table down from Tom.  Herc was busy doing adorable sketch cards and Henry had his hands full with capturing the likeness of con guests who wanted their very own selves as imagined by Henry.  One bearded fellow requested a sketch of himself riding an opossum! Crazy!
Down the hall from the Sketch Charlotte group, I found the gang from Wide Awake Press with secret guest Van Jenson, the writer of Pinocchio the Vampire Slayer.  I found Van to be super nice and he did a sketch in my Pippi Longstocking sketchbook.  I plan to pick up a copy of Pinocchio the Vampire Slayer at HeroesCon where both Van and the artist, Dusty Higgins, will be set up.  I also picked up the Itty-Bitty Neatobots Coloring Book from J. Chris Campbell and he did a Pippi sketch for me, too.  Robert Vindetti and Ashley Holt were also set up in Wappie Row.  I added another Ashley Holt mini-comic to my collection, The Infinite League, and Seth picked up a really cool print of Thelonious Monk.  Ashley was also kind enough to start Seth's Pulp Hero themed sketchbook with a Shadow sketch and add to my Pinky and the Brain sketchbook.

I also stopped by Bradd Parton's Alpha Sketch booth and won a free sketch card of R2-D2 by guessing which character he had posted in his latest contest on his website.  I stopped back by his table later with Seth to pick up one of Bradd's "A is Asheville" prints and sketch cards of Animal, Captain Marvel and an Ewok.  It's fun to look through the sketches and find all 26 letters! Seth picked up a Tom Waits sketch and print from Urban Pop, who was also featured on the cover of the Fanaticon program book.  I also bought a sweet full color sketchbook from Eric Morin, who also did one of the Fanaticon collector cards. 

There were a ton of costumes at Fanaticon from the Star Wars and Star Trek groups to Steam Punk to Super Heroes and people's own unique creations.  There were even two sets of Ghostbusters! I also enjoyed the hilarious signs placed around the museum by the Fanaticon organizers. 

We ended our Fanaticon day with dinner at Rosetta's Kitchen with Herc and Henry.  Such yummy vegetarian and vegan food that even two meat eaters loved it.  After dinner, Seth and I headed over to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge for dessert and relaxation before calling it a night.  There were lots of yummy desserts from cakes to chocolates to cookies to choose from!

On Sunday, we took the afternoon to enjoy all that downtown Asheville has to offer beginning with brunch at The Early Girl Eatery, a yummy local place that is vegetarian friendly and focuses on organic and local raised food.  After brunch we made our way to the independent bookstore, Malaprops, which is full of great books in a huge range of topics as well as an awesome selection of journals and notebooks. We also made a stop at the Chocolate Fetish for excellent truffles and chocolates.  We ended our afternoon in Asheville with a relaxing stop at Double D's Coffee and Desserts, which is a coffee shop inside a double decker bus.  There are booths upstairs and I couldn't help being reminded of Harry Potter's Knight Bus.  It's a nice setting for reading and writing.  I actually wrote my notes for this post while there.   

You can check out all the fun of Fanaticon in my Flickr set.  I'm already looking forward to next year!

Friday, May 20, 2011

On the Way to Fanaticon!

We're on the way for a weekend in Asheville and fun comic times at Fanaticon!

Unlike Athens, Asheville is an old favorite for both of us.  Downtown Asheville is full of great places to eat, shop and hang out.  This will be our first visit to Fanaticon, but as this is only the second year of this free convention that's not entirely surprising. 

There's a lot to look forward to both from the city and the con.  I'm excited to see friends, like J. Chris Campbell, who did the "Comics are Super" art on the post today and will have Itty-Bitty Neatobots Coloring Books on hand which I now have to obtain! It has a seriously cute cover and I can't wait to see what's inside.  He'll be joined by another one of my Wappie favorites, Duane Ballenger, as well as Ashley Holt, Robert Vendetti, Gregory Dickens, and Mark Roper

On the Charlotte end of things, Heroes Aren't Hard to Find will have a booth of comic offerings and we'll be spending some of our con day there.  Sketch Charlotte members, Eraklis "Herc" Petmezas Tom Davidson, and Henry Eudy are also making the trek up the mountain.  They'll be bringing with them copies of the Sketch Charlotte anthology for those not lucky enough to pick up a copy yet. 

I'm also looking forward to hopefully meeting Gail Simone, writer of comics like Wonder Woman and Secret Six.  Even if I don't get to meet her, I plan to check out the panel she's participating in at 11am on Saturday, "Identity in Comics".  Dollar Bin regulars (at least on the forums), Bradd Parton and Old Towne Comix's John Aston will also be appearing.  There are a number of artists that I'm unfamiliar with at Fanaticon and I hope to return home with some great new comics. 

We'll also be hitting several of my favorite local restaurants like Sugar Beet Cafe for breakfast before the con.  While not in Asheville proper, this diner will be on the way into Asheville.  Their breakfast is super yummy and a stack of their pancakes is enough to fuel a fun day at a con.  There will also be a stop at one or both of the chocolate shops, The Chocolate Fetish and The French Broad Chocolate Lounge.  Both places are excellent as far as the chocolates, but The French Broad Chocolate Lounge has the added benefit of a super nice seating area, with an upstairs and downstairs.  If everyone's plans come together, we'll also be visiting a new place, Rosetta's Kitchen with some of the Charlotte crew.  I love the wide variety of vegetarian restaurants in Asheville!

Look for my Fanaticon Report here on Wednesday!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Where's Seth Been Lately?

Some of you might have noticed that Heather's been doing a lot of the heavy lifting on our Exile blog in recent weeks. Truth be told, her schedule over the past few months has been much more conducive to blogging than mine has. With HeroesCon coming up in just a few short weeks I'll likely still be contributing less than I'd like to on this blog. I'm doing all I can to make sure my contributions to HeroesCon are great this year.

There's a laundry list of topics that will eventually get written about after the con, and I'm looking forward to getting back to writing on a more regular basis in a few weeks.  You can read my introduction to artist and friend Henry Eudy's new sketchbook The Pretentious Pervert that should be available in time for HeroesCon. Check out one of Henry's sketches of me to the left! In the meantime if I don't get much else written, I'd like to say thanks to all who have stopped by to read what Heather and I have been writing over the past few months. We've got a lot of great things still to come this year, and are humbled by the support of our friends and readers.

Hopefully we'll see you at HeroesCon and in the comment section here at Exile on Plain Street!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

HeroesCon 2011: Heather's Top Ten Things To Do

Wow, there's so much to choose from at HeroesCon that I had a hard time narrowing it down to a top ten!

1. Art Auction: Last year's Art Auction included a number of artists in matching monogrammed smoking jackets.  That's in addition to all the great art up for your bidding pleasure.  There's an amazing amount of awesome art from new, up and coming artists to old favorites each year.  It's always fun to guess which piece is going to be the highest price and perhaps new record setter.  Last year, Adam Hughes and Mark Brooks tied for highest price while setting a new record with a pair of pretty ladies, Zatanna and Black Cat.  I can't wait to see what will be there this year!

2. Live Art Stage: Some artists bring pieces already completed for the art auction, while others work on those pieces at HeroesCon.  Some choose to work at their booths, while others are up on the Live Art Stage.  Brian Steelfreeze is just an example of one of the many artists you can watch create.  It's really impressive to watch their process and craft to the end product.  The painting on the left is writer, Nathan Edmondson's contribution from last year. 

3. Wide Awake Press (WAP): Oh, how I love my Wappies! Josh Latta, a silver Wappie (pictured on the right) is on his seventh creator owned Rashy Rabbit book.  Josh is just one of the super funny and talented WAP members who will be on hand at HeroesCon this year.  You'll also find J. Chris Campbell, Brad McGinty, Duane Ballenger, hopefully Rob Ullman (who just welcomed a new addition to his family) and many other Bronze and Contributor level Wappies.  The Wappies can be found grouped somewhat closely together in Indie Island.  Drop Anchor and check them out!

4. Roger Langridge: Go see this super sweet artist and writer and buy some art or comics so his "little pig faced moppets don't have to eat from bins." I'm quoting from the sign Landridge often has on his booth at cons.  He is really funny and does some amazing artwork.  Langridge has already posted his Art Auction contribution, but if you're not lucky enough to win it, then pick something up directly from him!

5. Andy Runton: Step One-Buy an Indie Island print from the Info Booth.  Step Two-Take said print and visit Andy in Indie Island so you can meet the creator of such an awesome print! Step Three-Buy lots of Owly books. Step Four-Get an "Owly As" sketch.  Following those steps will guarantee a great HeroesCon experience!

 6. Charlotte Artists: My local favorites can be found in various parts of the con floor from Artist Alley to Indie Island to Small Press.  Be sure to check out the Sketch Charlotte members scattered throughout the con and pick up a copy of their first anthology! In Artist Alley, you should look for Chris Brunner and Jason Latour, two of the three creators of Loose Ends, due out this July.  The third creator and colorist, Rico Renzi is also the Creative Director at Heroes and will be found at least five places at once at any point during the con.  SKETCH CHARLOTTE is hosting a pre-HEROES CON get together/sketch meet at the SHOWMARS across the street from HEROES AREN'T HARD TO FIND on Thursday, June 2nd from 6:00-9:00 pm. SHOWMARS is a Greek restaurant serving hamburgers, gyros, salads, fish and just about everything else. They have our long standing reservation there and would love for you to join them for good food, friends and fun!

You can view SHOWMARS' menu here:

2004 East 7th Street
Charlotte NC 28204
Ph: 704-376-0565

7. The Westin Bar: The Westin in uptown Charlotte is the official hotel for HeroesCon.  This means on any given night during the con, you can find everyone from artists to staff to guests mingling in the bar area.  This often crowded, yet somehow relaxed setting is a good way to wind down after a long day at the con.   

8. Chad Hudson at the Apocalypse Comics Booth: Chad is one of my favorite exhibitors to see each year.  He's funny and knowledgeable and above all entertaining. 

9. Heroes Store Booth: Stop by to see Seth and Phil and buy some comics! While you're there, check out the meticulous arrangement of the statutes in the display case.  Heroes always has a nice set up with lots of comics and statutes to choose from each year.  It's also a good place to find your favorite Heroes staff members during the con, plus some super awesome volunteers!  

10.  Costumes!: Whether you're a comics fan, a Star Wars fan, a Star Trek fan or just a fan of fun, there will be costumed people there for you! I love all the costumes and getting my pictures with them.  Most costume wearers are quite friendly and some even stay in character.  Others make costume changes throughout the con. 

Bonus Pick: Stop by and see me at the Information Booth.  I will have all kinds of information for you (HeroesCon and otherwise)!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Henry Eudy

I met Henry Eudy at my first visit to Sketch Charlotte last year.  Sketch was much smaller when I first starting going to their Thursday night meetings at Showmars on 7th Street.  Henry was one of just a few artists there.  He was kind enough to draw in my newly started Pinky and the Brain sketchbook and a new friendship had begun. 

Henry tends, at least intially, to be one of the quieter Sketch members.  I picked up on his sense of humor through his animal sketches that he does during the Sketch meetings.  I got to know Henry even better when after hearing the SPX wrap-up podcast on the Dollar Bin, he brought me a stack of his mini-comics since I expressed an interest in diving more into the world of mini-comics.

To say Henry's mini-comics are funny would be a vast understatement.  His quirky humor blends well with his art style to create stories that most anyone will find something to laugh about within. My favorite mini-comic of his is Amateur Hour which is a diary style comic featuring vignettes of Henry's daily life.  It's "mostly autobiographical" which according to one of the strips gives Henry license with his stories.  I do love the interactions with his wife, Jennifer.  

Henry was included in last week's Spotlight on the Sketch Charlotte FCBD Anthology.  I couldn't include everything he sent me for his bio for that piece as he gave me three options to choose from, but I can include them here so that everyone can get a true appreciation of his self-deprecating sense of humor: 

  • Henry Eudy was born of people of normal intelligence in Concord, NC. (This is quite an accomplishment for Concord, NC.) Despite an early start toward righteousness, Mr. Eudy has instead chosen the wayward path of drunkenness and oafishness that fully embraces the production of comical booklets. It's probably for the best if you don't encourage him by either visiting his paltry website at or, even worse, writing him at

  • Henry Eudy rhymes with pooty and that's all you really need to know. He's pooty.

You can find Henry next week at Fanaticon in Asheville, North Carolina and at HeroesCon in Charlotte, North Carolina on June 3-5.  Be sure to pick up some of his hilarious mini-comics or one the 2011 Anthologies from Sketch Charlotte and the Dollar Bin that he is featured.  If you're feeling extra awesome, pick up a sketch or two as well! 

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Heather's FCBD Report from Heroes!

    Free comics, free sketches, rows and rows of sale comics and beautiful weather, what more could you ask for out of your Free Comic Book Day?

    It was an early day for both staff and customers as people were already lining up as the tables and sale boxes were being set up outside.  By the time ten o'clock rolled around the line was around the back of the building.  Heroes Aren't Hard to Find filled up fast and soon there were lots of happy faces with their hands full of free comics! It was nice to see the works of my friends in those hands, including the Loose Ends preview (I hope they all pick up the first issue out in July!) and the very first Sketch Charlotte Anthology.  I was also lucky enough to see a mother and daughter laughing together over the Sketch Charlotte origin story by Herc Petmezas and Henry Eudy.  It's also really cute to see all of the kids who don't even wait to get home to start reading their new comics.  FCBD is the place to start a lifelong love of comics. 

    The artists started sketching around one and most kept drawing until after six.  I say most as Brian Stelfreeze was still working until after nine.  Brian's line caps before the official cut off time for sketches, but he continues working until that last person in his line has a sketch, putting as much effort and beauty into the last sketch as he did the last.  All of the artists worked tirelessly throughout the afternoon on a variety of subjects from the traditional superheroes to princesses to the fans themselves.  It's always fun to see what people are requesting.  I was able to get some sketches too, thanks to Shawn and Adam of the Dollar Bin for taking my Pinky and the Brain sketchbook around to Cully Hamner and Jay Potts.  I was also able to start my new Pippi Longstocking sketchbook thanks to the awesome artists, Chris Schweizer, Eraklis "Herc" Petmezas and Jackie Lewis for keeping my sketchbook at their table and working on it in between requests.  All of the FCBD guests will also be at HeroesCon and I hope you'll take the time to check them out!

    There were rows upon rows of 25 cent and dollar comics for people to dig through to find great deals and great comics.  Collectors were digging from before the time the doors opened until the last lid was capped at the end of the sale.  Everyone from customers to artists to staff seemed to be having a really good time.  You can see for yourself by checking out my Heroes FCBD 2011 set.  I had a really great and exhausting time.  It was nice to see friends and make new ones.  I picked up a stack of free comics, including the ones I highlighed here and some additional ones that caught my eye. 

    It's hard to believe that this was only my second FCBD.  Each year I get to check out more comics and meet new artists.  It's a really good way for someone who hasn't been reading for very long to get exposure to new stories and characters.  I hope everyone had a great FCBD!

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Super Sweet Link: Seth's Interview with Chris Pitzer

    Seth had the opportuinty to interview Chris Pitzer, the founder of AdHouse Books for the Heroes Aren't Hard to Find Blog.  Adhouse not only puts out some really great books (like Afrodisiac and Duncan the Wonder Dog to name a few), but Chris is one of the friendliest guys in the business.  If you have the opportunity to meet him at a convention, you should go by the AdHouse booth and chat.  He'll be at HeroesCon so be sure to stop by and pick up some AdHouse awesomeness. 

    Chris talks about current and future projects in the interview with Seth as well as the new AdDistro end of AdHouse that's bringing some international works to American readers.  Seth and Chris also discuss what he looks for in new publishing projects.  There's a lot of good stuff in there, so go check it out for yourself and then check out the AdHouse gang at HeroesCon in a few weeks!

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Seth's Free Comic Book Day Report!

    For those of us on the retail side of Free Comic Book Day, the event is always an exhausting one.  This year's was no different, but as always, there was plenty to enjoy about it.  Moreso than previous years, this year I made a conscious effort to keep my eyes open, look around, and really take in the enthusiasm folks have for comics. It's hard to be too negative about the state of comics when you see little kids light up and laugh as they read their free books. I'm not entirely naive, and know that FCBD might be the only time all year that some people actually stop by a comics store.  That said, it would be smart for us who actively work in the industry (be it on the retail or creative end) to really appreciate days like FCBD. Not only do we get a chance to share our enthusiasm for comics with great crowds of people, but hopefully we'll at least gain a couple of new readers in the process.  After all, that is what this event is about.  

    We can debate the finer points about whether or not the industry is really that inviting or accomodating to new readers young and old, but such arguments aren't going anywhere anytime soon.  We should make a conscious effort to really capitalize on the continuing popularity of comics films, and be mindful of the importance of turning new readers onto quality books. There is great value in discussing the critical value of comics, but sometimes it's important just to sit back and appreciate days like FCBD for the opportunity they represent. It's not everyday we get the opportunity to share our love of comics with large groups of people. Even when comics are really badly made, we're doing ourselves a great disservice if we only focus on the negative.  Why allow ourselves to dwell on and thus perpetuate the idea that bad comics are abounding, if we fail to see great art be it in the present or the past?  Tastes can change, appreciation of different styles might alter, but if we take anything at all away from FCBD, why not just allow ourselves to bask in comics joy?

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Artist Spotlight: Sketch Charlotte FCBD Anthology Artists

    If you are at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find in Charlotte, N.C., Richard's Comics and Collectibles in Greenville, S.C. or Borderlands in Greenville, S.C., you will have the opportunity to pick up and possibly meet some of the contributors of the very first Sketch Charlotte Free Comic Book Day Anthology.

    A dozen artists came together to produce this excellent anthology and here's a little bit about each of them in their own words:

    Eraklis “Herc” Petmezas Eraklis Petmezas graduated from the Savannah College of Art & Design witha BFA in Illustration. In the years to follow he created art for numerous musical acts and quite a number of editorial illustrations. He also designed window displays for Borders Books and Music. Recently he worked on storyboards for Rich Barrett Designs and illustrated the Tell Tale Heart for Adam Smith Academy. He's had work published by Image comics, Arcana, and Asylum Press. His first love will always be telling stories. He is working on new comics as you read this. In 2006 he not only joined the successful 803 Studios but,it also saw him start SketchCharlotte, a weekly meeting of local artists in the Charlotte, NC area. Which continues to grow in membership. When he’s not drawing he conducts a Comics Camp for the Charlotte Library. He will gladly accept money in exchange for art, if you are willing to part with some.

    Henry Eudy -Henry Eudy is a disreputable human being who primarily makes his living racing pigs at county fairs and arm wrestling hobos for pocket change. His recent foray into making comics is borne from a deeply invested desire to pull asunder the gossamer curtains of consensual reality and reveal to all mankind the gilded and shimmering fart joke at the bottom of the primeval well of humanity. He is kind of awesome [Editor's note: This isn't what Henry originally said, but he is awesome so I refused to leave in what he said]. Locate this rakish rogue at or write him unintelligible verse at 

    Jonathan Rosenbaum: I was born at an early age. And in those early years I developed the passion for art. I knew what I wanted to be at the age of 4. When asked by my mother, I told her, "Either an artist or an elephant". As years went by, I focused on the artist path. I went to a art college and studied Visual Communications while still taking a few illustration classes. When I graduated I was drawn to the burgeoning world of multimedia. It was 1994. I didn't get into the internets right away... it was just a fad... Compuserve and AOL were just too boring. But eventually I had to submit to the web. So for many years of being in technology, I needed to get back to my roots. As a hobby I started to write and illustrate some children's book ideas. I have an inventory of them, and I did some, got rejected, and kept going. Recently I have been illustrating more and have been going in the graphic novel direction... but more for younger kids.

    Bridgit Scheide: I’ve always been drawing, and was kind of all over the place when I was a kid in terms of inspiration. I read a few comics when I was little, anything I could get my hands on, mostly Archie and Spiderman. I read lots of fantasy novels, like Dragonlance. I was into folklore, monster movies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers. I left most of that behind when I got into high school.

    The summer of my junior year I went to a summer program called Governor’s School, for art. My professor was comic book artist Ben Towle, and he taught us about the art in sequential art. Can’t remember if he assigned us the book Maus or if it was an out-of-class book club kind of thing, but I just remember reading it in my dorm and being blown away. I was totally sucked into Spiegelman’s work. My love for storytelling was met the illustration medium I loved, and I realized that comics don’t just have to be about superheroes. (Though my love for those superhero stories came back as I started diving back into comics, too!) I probably started getting back into comics senior year, but was allowed to draw them for class the first year of college or so, haha! Sequential art wasn’t exactly encouraged for my high school senior art portfolio. So I just read them. I used to ride my bike to Heroes in the rain, haha! Those days were so sweet!

    The comics I’m reading right now are Chew (that comic is GOLDEN! So clever and hilarious – that goes for both the writer and artist) and the most recent of the Witchfinder stories by Mignola. I just recently finished reading The Marquis by Guy Davis and man, he really knows how to tell a scary story! Those demons are terrifying. Sooo good though.Within the past year I’ve really been affected by Doug TenNapel’s work. I think he has a great way of including amazing messages in completely unique storylines. The characters he comes up with are so imaginative and fun. Also his inking has really allowed me to loosen up a bit in my own work instead of being so rigid. Stuart Sayger is inspiring in this way as well. As for construction of a composition, lighting, and figures, I feel like I could stare at anything by Mark Brooks for hours. (I think I might have, actually, haha!) Dave Crosland’s imagination is amazing. The Sketch Charlotte crew is super inspiring as well… it’s hard to be involved in such a collectively creative group of people without being influenced. I really love everyone in that group, they really make my week! 

    Jerry Stanford: Jerry Stanford is the creator of Jet-Pack Jenny, currently wrapping up its second long-running storyline, Factor of 01 at This year he celebrates his tenth year working on comics and is pleased to be doing it in the company of so many talented artists. 

    John DaCosta:   John Da Costa is a husband and dad to one of the best families on earth.  When he finds time, he enjoys several hobbies including playing guitar, learning carpentry and drawing an occasional stick figure fighting dinosaurs.  He combines all 3 in his story The Imaginox, a preview of which can be seen in the 2011 Sketch Charlotte FCBD offering.  HIs inspirations include Humberto Ramos, Sean Cheeks Galloway, Skottie Young, Mark Tremonti, Lenny Kravitz, David Crowder,  and Norm from the old yankee workshop.

    Tom Davidson: Tom lives in East Charlotte with his two elder cats, Tabla and Maizie, and super scruffy dog, Olive. He is married to Yvonne, a fulltime yoga teacher. Tom is an art director for Belk, loves fashion, nail polish, hats, ties, shoes and accessories. He also has a passion for gardening. This year he became a beekeeper, and is a member of the Mecklenburg County and NC State Beekeepers Associations. When it comes to comics, Tom hates comics that look like stiff tracings from photographs that are overly colored and rendered. Yick. But he LOVES comics that spotlight cartooning and are FUN to read. Above all, Tom loves stories. Nostalgia. Timeless wisdoms. Laughing out loud, sometimes snorting. Things that go bump in the night. Anything that makes your hackles rise. And great food. C'est moi. 

    Rich Barrett: I’m an art director with 14 years of experience in interactive design. In addition to being the Creative Director for Mass Transmit, an interactive marketing agency, I have my own website design company called Rich Barrett Design. The work I have done for myself and for various agencies over the years can be viewed at

    In addition to my web design career, I am also an illustrator with a degree in illustration from Syracuse University. I am currently working on my first comic book which I hope to eventually self-publish. My progress can be viewed at

    Julian-Marcus Blake:   Julian is a young, aspiring artist and mangoka.  He spent the first year of his life in the United States and then spent the next four years in the Okinowa region of Japan before returning to America.  This experience at an early age had a huge influence on him and how he sees art and comics today.  Julian's favorite artists are James Jean, Sam Weber, Chrissie Zullo, Sylvia Ji, Skottie Young, and Takeshi Obata.  His favorite comics and manga are Naruto, X-Men, Berserk, Wolverine, and One Piece.  Julian likes to draw to music by Shawn Lee, Tool, 36 Crazy Fist, Deftones, Lacuna Coil, and Silversun Pickups.       

    Brandon Padgett: I'm a full-time marketing manager, and a part-time freelance illustrator. I specialize in black and white line art, mostly comic-related art. I produce a yearly sketchbook with fellow artists Mark Godby, Terence Hoskins and this year, our 5th anniversary, we're adding Henry Eudy to the mix! The 2011 version will be available in June and will make its debut at this year's Heroes Con. We're now taking pre-orders for books and personalized sketches by email request.  My portion of the book is generally comprised of black and white commissions that I've done over the year with a few special pieces thrown in for good measure!

    Over at my blog, we're starting a theme of drawings that will lead up to the premiere of the sketchbook in June. The first topic is 1970's DC characters. All four of us will be participating, so be sure to head over and check it out! We appreciate any and all constructive feedback, and please let us know what you want to see. Who knows, your suggestion may get picked!

    As far as the Sketch Charlotte FCBD Anthology goes, I edited and printed the piece and I also submitted a 2 page parody loosely based off one of my all time favorite movies. Originally created for the Dollar Bin Anthology, I had to resize the artwork to fit the specs for our book. Compare the two and you'll definitely see a difference! It's my first published sequential art, so it's raw in places, but I'm happy with the overall presentation. I never thought I'd delve into the sequential realm, but after putting this story together I'm hoping to do more in the future! You can follow me on twitter or check out my deviant art page!

    Chrissie Zullo:   Chrissie studied art and illustration at UNC Charlotte. She sas worked for Vertigo comics, including doing the covers for "Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love" and "Cinderella: Fables are Forever", as well as sequential work for "Madame Xanadu" and "Fables 100".  Her favorite comics that she’s currently reading are Fables, MouseGuard, Detective Comics, Green Lantern, Zatanna, and she’s really anticipating Batwoman! Come out already! Chrissie’s art inspirations: James Jean, Winsor McCay, Alphonse Mucha, French and Japanese art history, Adam Hughes, Travis Chares, JH Williams IIIt. Her Anthology story is just a fun three page action comic that was a collaborative effort to pay homage to a love for the post-apocolyptic sci-fi genre.

    Matthew Knapik: Matt (also known as Snaps) is a highly-excitable comic book store clerk with an infectious laugh and nervous energy to spare/  He recently traded in his drug and alcohol addictions for art-book and animation fixations He’s relocating to Burbank, California in late June [Editor’s Note: Boy! are we going to miss him in Charlotte!] to try his hand at story boarding and 2D animation...stay tooned!

    Seth and I got to write the introduction for the book and we couldn't be prouder than to be included with such a friendly and talented bunch! I hope you'll pick up this book at the above locations if you get a chance.  In addition to the books being available, Sketch members will be at each of the above locations as listed:

    -Eraklis "Herc" Petmezas
    -Bridgit Scheide

    -Chrissie Zullo

    -Brandon Padgett
    -Terence Hoskins (Tee didn't contribute in this year's anthology, but he is an awesome member of Sketch nevertheless)
    We hope everyone gets a chance to make it out to your LCS and pick up some great free books!

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Upcoming Event: HeroesCon 2011

    Is HeroesCon really a month away? Wow, how time flies.  HeroesCon will be the biggest show for both of us this year.  You will find Seth either at the Heroes Store Booth or on the convention floor.  He'll be hard at work both places! You will find me at the Information Booth just chock full of all kinds of information. 

    As HeroesCon is such a big event (three days packed full of comic goodness), we'll be doing a series of posts, including, but not limited to a Top Ten List of Things to Do by both of us, and a Where to Eat at Heroes Con.  If there are any other HeroesCon topics you would like to see a post on, just let us on know in the comments below. 

    There's so many great things to highlight about HeroesCon, it's hard to know where to start, but let's jump in with Indie Island.  Indie Island is a wonderful part of HeroesCon that groups all these amazing independent artists together on one part of the con floor.  There's way too many people to be able to list here, but I will mention some of my personal favorites:
    While it seems like Indie Island is big enough to be its very own con, the Guest List outside of Indie Island is crazy full of artists and writers.  Again, there's way too many to list, but I will hit my highlights:
    From the publishing end of comics, Chris Pitzer from AdHouse Books will be in attendance as well as several of the artists under the AdHouse roof.  Top Shelf will also be there as mentioned above. 

    In addition to all the wonderful guests and publishers, there will be exciting panels to attend, the Quick Draw Contests, the Art Auction, a great Small Press section and much, much more! There's a ton to cover so check back in the weeks leading up to HeroesCon for new posts.